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Winter in Wartime (2011)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 60
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 17

A gripping, handsomely shot World War II melodrama with thriller elements successfully mixed in.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 5

A gripping, handsomely shot World War II melodrama with thriller elements successfully mixed in.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,826

My Rating

Movie Info

Nazi-occupied Holland, 1945. In a snow-covered village, thirteen-year-old MICHIEL (Martijn Lakemeier) is drawn into the Resistance when he aids a wounded British paratrooper. Michiel's boyish sense of defiance and adventure soon turns to danger and desperation, as Michiel is forced to act without knowing whom to trust among the adults and townspeople around him. Wartime's harsh reality encroaches on childhood innocence as Michiel confronts good and evil, courage and duplicity, and his own burden

Jul 26, 2011


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March 18, 2011:
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All Critics (60) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (17) | DVD (2)

Writer-director Martin Koolhoven hits just the right balance of domesticity and oppression here, setting up the film's tense second half with sweet early touches of naivete.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's got a grown-up artfulness, but "Winter in Wartime" could become a lot of boys' favorite movie.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What makes "Winter" really special is its complex exploration of the theme of heroism.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Martin Koolhoven's film about one boy's struggle to make sense of the absurd - of the inhumanity of war and its effects on everyone around him.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Winter in Wartime benefits from top-notch production values and a sturdy performance from its young lead, Martijn Lakemeier.

April 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you've seen one slow-motion "Noooooooo!" as a firing squad lets loose, you've seen 'em all.

April 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Comment (1)
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...there's a lack of momentum here that prevents the viewer from connecting to the material on a frustratingly continuous basis...

August 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

A child-witness-to-war movie gets lost in a convention-driven screenplay

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

A most involving and touching coming of age tale set in a time and place when childhood was a luxury few families or nations could afford.

January 10, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Shot beautifully and it evokes its setting well, but sometimes the movie relies a little too much on plot trickery and not enough on the emotional state of its main character.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source:

Spielbergian touches...a good enough mainstream drama, but one can't help but feel it's a missed opportunity to give Terlouw a more textured treatment.

July 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

... strong and natural performances ...

July 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Sometimes familiarity is a good thing, and Koolhoven combines two familiar kinds of stories - the resistance drama and the coming-of-age drama - in a compelling way.

July 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

...a naive story that has some of the dreamy qualities of a remembered myth

June 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The acting is superb, with Lakemeier the anchor surrounded by a talented ensemble. The soundtrack is effective in ratcheting up the suspense. Other strengths are the cinematography, sound and production design.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

Director Martin Koolhoven, adapting Jan Terlouw's 1972 novel, maintains the constant tension of a world where every stray word or glance could lead to tragedy.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

This is an often emotionally harrowing depiction of a young idealist running smack into the brutal reality of occupied life.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Visually unremarkable, and worse than that when Koolhoven tries too hard: During a dramatic execution scene, the film shifts to slow-motion and the soundtrack becomes awash in angelic, choral harmonies; the effect is kitschy and bathetic.

May 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Winter in Wartime doesn't reinvent the World War II drama, but it doesn't have to; it works solidly within the genre with affecting if predictable results.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Winter in Wartime is an evocative Dutch movie about Michiel, a youthful adolescent coming of age in Nazi-occupied Holland in January 1945. The film is full of symbols that give depth and texture to Michiel's fateful journey.

May 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

...carries an R rating in the U.S., which means that not many children the age of the young protagonist (13) will get to see it, yet it has too many hallmarks of a juvenile film to satisfy most adults.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl

Here's the film's biggest obstacle: It's patently ridiculous.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly | Comments (2)
Orlando Weekly

Nothing about Koolhoven's film is stunning, but it's a solid piece of work, occasionally feeling as tense as life-and-death situations with Nazis should be.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times

Audience Reviews for Winter in Wartime

A family is torn apart by loyalties, fear, secrecy and distrust while their freezing little world disintegrates around them. Excellent acting, cinematography for a rare coming-of-age piece. Powerful ending. Really good film!
August 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

Oorlogswinter is a very, very special movie around the themes war, love, trust, friendship from the point of view of a 14-year old Dutch teenager in the last winter of World War 2.

Beautiful cold winter-setting with lots of snow and original landscapes; - fantastic music , I loved the music in the movie, unbelievable beautiful.

The script has been adjusted very well for the screen, with a suspenseful storyline and depth characters. The performances of Martijn Lakemeijer (Michiel) and Jamie Campbell Bower (Jack) really stand out. For Dutch standards it's produced in very high quality, with great photography and a incredible score. I recommend this movie highly to anyone, especially those who are interested in war stories.
May 6, 2011
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

A compelling, incredibly thrilling masterpiece. More thoughts to come.
April 3, 2011
Kyle S

Super Reviewer

    1. Jack: The Germans shot him, not you.
    – Submitted by Sheryl N (21 months ago)
    1. Johan van Beusekom: You shouldn't upset the Germans now.
    2. Michiel van Beusekom: I'm supposed to suck up to them too?
    – Submitted by Sheryl N (21 months ago)
    1. Michiel van Beusekom: I can help you.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Uncle Ben: You don't know what you're up against, do you?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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Foreign Titles

  • Oorlogswinter (DE)
  • Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter) (UK)
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